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Footage Shows Nepalis Raging at Their Government Over Delay in Earthquake Relief

Protesters clashed with police in the streets of Kathmandu on Wednesday as frustration grows over the stalled progress of relief efforts.
Photo by Iris Xu/VICE News

A protest erupted in Nepal's capital of Kathmandu on Wednesday as residents expressed their frustration with delays in the delivery of earthquake aid to the devastated region. Local reports described an irate crowd that had gathered at the city's main bus station, located near parliament, and authorities dispatched a large force of riot police to quell the dissent.

People reportedly flocked to the station at dawn upon hearing word that the government was sending a fleet of buses to get them out of the city, but grew angry when an insufficient number of them materialized hours later. Members of the crowd were described attempting to block traffic as they complained that aid wasn't being distributed to remote areas and voiced their ire at the government's Home Ministry.


The outcry came four days after a 7.8 earthquake destroyed buildings and ancient monuments throughout Nepal, leaving more than 5,200 people dead, another 10,000 injured, and hundreds of thousands homeless, according to Nepal's National Emergency Coordination Center. Though brief clashes occurred between police and protesters, the Associated Press said that there were no arrests.

"We don't have any say at all. We don't have any food to eat or place to go," Dolma Tamaug, a woman trying to get to her home in Dhading District, outside of Kathmandu, told VICE News. "We want everything settled in this road right now."

Related: Nepal Death Toll Might Hit 10,000 as Mass Cremations Continue and Rescue Time Runs Short

Video from the ground shot by VICE News shows altercations between police in riot gear and the protesters after they had blocked traffic. Protesters called for faster aid delivery, noting the poor conditions many people are living in, with many thousands of them relocated to temporary displacement camps. The country has lately experienced heavy rainfall, and the threadbare conditions of the camps are a serious concern.

"The government is trying its best to deliver the relief materials," National Disaster Management chief Rameshwor Dangal told the BBC. "The problem is the level of disaster is very high and it's spread over more than 20 districts."

Tremors continue to shake the country days after the incident, raising alarm over the prospect of landslides. A lack of quality medical care is also a problem, as the disaster increases the potential of cholera outbreaks and injured individuals in need of treatment risk infection.


In a statement on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) discussed efforts to scale up its public health response in the coming days to prevent the spread of disease.

"We are establishing an early warning response and alert system and strengthening the disease surveillance system in affected areas to identify any diseases that could spread through the population," WHO's Operations Officer Hyo-Jeong Kim said.

Police video released on Wednesday shows the exact point at which the earthquake struck on Saturday, looking out from the station onto the street. The footage shows a normal scene ahead of the disaster, as cars drive along a street that is lined with police vehicles.

As the earthquake begins, the camera appears to wobble and the footage appears to warp just seconds before motorbike riders tumble and people collapse to the ground. What appears to be a building structure collapses into the frame as a cloud of dust and debris invades the shot. After the dust clears people can be seen running through the street.

It's estimated that some 8 million people across Nepal have been affected by the earthquake — the Himalayan country's worst since 1934. The United Nations made an emergency "flash appeal" for $415 million in relief funding on Wednesday to help Nepal recover from the catastrophe, which destroyed 70,000 houses and damaged another 530,000 in 39 of Nepal's 75 districts. Officials have labeled 11 districts in Nepal as "severely affected."

A statement accompanying the emergency appeal noted that 1.4 million people would receive food assistance, many of whom are in so-called "hard-to-reach" areas. This funding would add to the initial $15 million that has already been allocated toward the emergency.

"The timing of the intervention remains of the essence," UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal Jamie McGoldrick said in a press release. "Although I am heartened and encouraged by the progress of the response to date, efforts need to be maintained and stepped up to ensure vital assistance reaches all the affected, especially those in the remote areas."

Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB Photos by Iris Xu/VICE News